cannabis for the treatment of endometriosis

Endometriosis and Cannabis Treatment

Endometriosis is a common and sometimes debilitating condition experienced by women. This disease is characterized by the growth of tissue, usually the tissue that lines the uterus called the endometrium, growing outside of the uterus. Many common side effects of this disease are: chronic pelvic pain, painful menstrual periods called dysmenorrhea, painful menstrual cramps, painful intercourse, gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, constipation, and nausea and in some severe cases, infertility.

This misplaced tissue responds to the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue lining the uterus does: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down and sheds. Usually menstrual blood that should be released through the vagina has no way of leaving the body with endometriosis. This results in inflammation and sometimes scarring (adhesions), both of which can cause the painful symptoms of endometriosis and may contribute to difficulty getting pregnant.  Endometriosis is a complex disease that can be challenging to diagnose and treat. This is due to the reason that a combination of treatment options that work for one woman may not necessarily work for another. It may take years for a women and a health care provider to find effective treatment options for symptoms. Unfortunately, endometriosis cannot be cured but symptoms can be controlled depending on the individual.

Endocannabioind System

Many components of the ECS are found in endometrial tissue and their levels are regulated by the menstrual cycle in rodent models of the disease. These include cannabinoid receptors type 1 and type 2 (CB1 and CB2), N-acyl phosphatidylethanolamine phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD), an enzyme that synthesizes endocannabinoids, and fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), and enzyme that breaks down endocannabinoids. The highest concentration of the endocannabinioid anandamide (AEA) in the reproductive system is found in the uterus.

Endometriosis is linked to endocannabinoid deficiency (ECD). Women with endometriosis have lower levels of CB1 receptor in endometrial tissue. Reduced ECS function leads to growth of endometriosis throughout the body and more pain, and endometriosis pain is mediated through the CB1 receptor.

Human endometriosis cells proliferated (divided and grew) less when stimulated with a synthetic cannabinoid called WIN 55212-2. Rodent studies of endometriosis found animals had more pain when treated with AM251, a drug that inhibits the cannabinoid receptors, and less pain when treated with WIN 55212-2.

Medical Cannabis as a treatment option:

Endometriosis is a chronic disease and has no cure. Extensive medical and scientific evidence demonstrates that the cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids) can ease and improve the majority of the symptoms caused by endometriosis. These symptoms include: pain scores, depression, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, inflammation, muscle cramping, GI symptoms, and many others.

It is very important that women with endometriosis on hormonal treatments do not smoke, this is because smoking increases your risk of blood clots. Under Health Canada there are only two forms of medical cannabis that can be purchased. This is the dried form and cannabis oil. Patients with endometriosis can opt out for the ingestion route by using cannabis oils or may vaporize. Vaporizing cannabis is better than smoking cannabis. This is because smoking cannabis releases toxins similar to cigarettes, which can cause lung irritation and often disintegrates cannabinoids with healing properties. Vaporizing cannabis combusts the cannabis, releasing a range of cannabinoids, each with unique health benefits.

Speak to your physician today about medical marijuana as a possible treatment option today.


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